ATLANTA (AP) -- Duke showed it could win a close game, too.
The No. 2 Blue Devils survived their tightest contest of the
season, defeating Georgia Tech 67-59 Wednesday night despite
shooting just 33 percent and being held without a field goal for
the final 6:27.
Duke (15-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had been winning by
an average margin of nearly 43 points a game.
"I don't think our team enjoys blowing other teams out," coach
Gail Goestenkors said. "In a way, this will be good for us. We had
to hustle to make plays. We had to scrap and claw. There's going to
be games where the shots aren't falling. We've been shooting
phenomenally. But when you're not hitting shots, that's when you've
got to rely on your defense, your rebounding and your free-throw
Led by Wanisha Smith with 13 points, the Blue Devils made only
21-of-64 shots against Georgia Tech's matchup zone. The Yellow
Jackets (11-4, 0-3) didn't give up much on the outside, either,
holding Duke to 7-of-23 from 3-point range.
Duke had been shooting 55 percent from the field.
"I'm very proud of my team's effort defensively," Georgia Tech
coach MaChelle Joseph said. "That's the closest anybody has played
them all year. This is something we can grow from."
The Blue Devils went ahead for good on Abby Waner's 3-pointer
less than three minutes into the second half. But they struggled to
put Georgia Tech away, failing to make a field goal after Lindsey
Harding's 3-pointer with 6:27 to go.
Duke wrapped up the victory at the foul line, hitting nine of
its last 11 attempts. Harding scored 12 points, while Monique
Currie and Chante Black added 11 apiece.
Currie, the Blue Devils' leading scorer, was double-teamed just
about every time she touched the ball and made only 4-of-13 shots.
But she led Duke with nine rebounds, and chipped in three assists
and a steal.
"You have to dig down sometimes," Currie said. "I'm just glad
we won. Against a better team, the result probably would have been
The Blue Devils has a 66-point blowout of Fairfield and an
86-point rout of Ball State on their record this season. Their
closest game coming into this one was an 84-70 victory at Texas.
Georgia Tech held Duke to its fewest points of the season, far
shy of its 97-point average and just below a 69-37 victory over
Auburn. The Blue Devils already have tied a school record with six
"If we can hold Duke to 67 points, we can hold anybody to 67,"
Joseph said. "We know we can play with anybody. There's a lot of
games to be played."
Stephanie Higgs led Georgia Tech with 21 points and filled in
ably for injured point guard Jill Ingram. But Chioma Nnamaka was
the only teammate in double figures with 10 points, and Georgia
Tech shot only 39 percent (22-of-56).
Duke didn't have any fast-break points but worked hard for extra
chances with 23 offensive rebounds -- two more than it grabbed at
the defensive end.
"We usually get a lot things going with our fast break,"
Currie said. "We weren't able to do that tonight."
Still, Duke slowly pulled away over the final seven minutes.
Nnamaka hit a pair of free throws to bring Georgia Tech to 57-51
with 2:57 remaining, but the Yellow Jackets never got any closer.
The Blue Devils finally pushed the margin into double figures
when Smith made two foul shots with 32.5 seconds left to make it
The Yellow Jackets set the tone with a scrappy first half. There
were seven lead changes and seven ties before a quick spurt, capped
by Laura Kurz's 3-pointer, pushed Duke to the biggest edge of the
Georgia Tech scored the final two baskets to trail 32-29 at the
"I feel good about it," Higgs said. "It's tough losing, but
it's not that bad when you know you left it all on the court."